Can I Believe In Science And Still Be Religious?
- Shaniqua Benjamin
Conversations around science and religion have been going on for decades, longer even. Some say that the two can't co-exist; that you can only believe in one or the other. But Shaniqua, who was brought up in a Seventh-day Adventist home, says otherwise
Science and religion have been causing conflict for centuries and it shows no signs of letting up soon. There are countless news stories debating whether or not the two can go together, and why they are so separate. This conflict has also trickled down into education, leading to syllabus disputes. Some have spoken out about banning the teaching of creationism in science lessons, while a Jewish school was allowed to remove evolution questions from a science exam, because it did not fit in with its beliefs.
Although I come from a religious background (I was brought up in a Seventh-day Adventist home), I have never shied away from science, no matter how much I grew to hate the subject. I think that my struggle with grasping science modules and constant lack-lustre experiments in later years diminished any positive feelings I had for it. I initially loved science and I remember having an activity book that contained information about volcanoes, the solar system and the structure of the earth. My parents taught me bits and pieces about science growing up, although I may not have realised I was learning about science at the time.
I do not remember learning about the Big Bang or evolution until I reached secondary school, but my parents had spoken to me about these topics beforehand. My parents were never positive when talking about the Big Bang, but I was always willing to learn about it, because I enjoy expanding my knowledge.
However, coming from a religious background meant that I had grown up with the story of creation. I am grounded in my beliefs, so I never gave much thought to the Big Bang or evolution. I also feel that if evolution is how we came about, then why are we not evolving into something else? We should be mutants by now, teleporting to our destinations and controlling electricity with our minds. I would personally like to have Rogue’s powers from X-Men.
While being taught science at GCSE, I remember one of my teachers telling us that he was a Christian and he believed that science coincided with his beliefs. This stuck with me and it made me consider just how much God is present in science.
I believe that God is part of biology and natural chemistry, as the intricacies of our bodies and the wonders of nature shows me that someone intentionally created the world and everything in it. And as God created our minds and granted us the gift of knowledge, He is also present in all scientific discoveries.
Nonetheless, it does worry me slightly when I see news of scientists creating new life forms, DNA or clones, because it feels as if they are trying to play God. Sometimes it feels as if those in the science sector are fiddling too much with the natural course of life.
I think that it is important to be educated on science, religion, creationism and any other subject, because it stops us from missing out. If you are only taught about what you believe in, then you run the risk of creating a one-sided and small-minded world. However, everyone has the right to their own beliefs, so we should never force our views onto anyone.
Although this is what I believe, everyone is open to their own interpretation or opinion, and that’s great, because that is what makes our world so interesting. Variety is the spice of life, after all.
Feature image by Zach Graham.